Tips for Throwing the Best Office Holiday Party

Make your office holiday party memorable and have a great time with these tips from Mission Restaurant Group and their teams at Blue Tractor Barbeque, North Peak Brewing Co., The Peninsula Room and Mission Table in Traverse City


When should companies start making reservations for their group?

Whenever they want! We are happy to pull anything together and make you look like a hero. Still, the further out the better. Another very important money-saver is to have an accurate count of your guests. It’s often not an easy thing to do, but it will help the party budget!

Dinner isn’t the only option. What about Happy Hour or lunch?

  • The earlier the event, the more you will save. Restaurants are least busy between 2–4 p.m. Planning a party then will be the most affordable. Second best choice is having your party start by 5 p.m. and end by 7-ish (before the dinner rush). Still, we create events to fit your timeline, budget and brand.
  • Happy hour/mixers are great. People love to move around and not be confined to one seat. If you are doing this kind of a party you should choose a venue as soon as possible.
  • If you have it catered make sure you have all the items you may need at your workplace. Garbage cans, cups, silverware, serving utensils etc. Check with your caterer and see what they provide. Being stuck without plates for your party would not be good.

How does Mission Restaurant Group celebrate?

  • For our restaurant and brewery group, it is important to get our employees out of our restaurants and breweries. We always book at a local restaurant that is not ours. In past years we’ve even exchanged employee holiday parties with another local restaurant or bar.
  • We use a white elephant gift exchange at our parties. What becomes hilarious is the passing of “unwanted” gifts from previous years. Nobody wants to be stuck with the pointy-toed loafers from a previous manager. The other funny element is how new managers participate. Even though we send out a detailed description of our white elephant policy, new managers will often show up with a good bottle of wine or bottle of whiskey. Of course, they missed the whole point, but the fun is watching everyone exchange gifts trying to get the new “good” gifts!
  • Great parties are a mix of good food, good drink and good friends (or good relationships with co-workers), add some music and you can’t go wrong—wherever you celebrate.
  • Mission Restaurant group does a holiday party every year for all four of the stores combined. We close them all early and usually take over a local restaurant. We usually have a DJ, karaoke, and a pool table so there is a lot to do. Food and drinks are provided and each staff member is allowed to bring one person with them. North Peak does Mohawks for Munson which is a really fun party and it supports the Cowell Family Cancer Center.

What elements make a great holiday party?

  • Bring the fun! As an owner, it’s your job to contribute to the mood of the event by initiating the fun and festive atmosphere.

Any tips?

  • Definitely don’t overserve yourself or staff at the company party. Most business parties will issue tickets to limit alcohol consumption. We have a two-ticket limit for our staff, basically one drink per hour.
  • Definitely make sure your leaders show up and show up early. Make sure you have enough food and beverage for everyone. If you make them laugh and give them food and beverages you are sure to have a great party. Gifts don’t hurt either.

Whatever you do for the holidays, have fun! 


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